As you enter our narthex you will be welcomed into the sanctuary with the words of the apostle Paul, “Grace and Peace be unto You” added in 2004 to the lintel over the interior doors. Above that, replacing the arched wooden panel, a piece of red stained glass is marked with different crosses from our worldwide Christian heritage, as well as those used presently in the sanctuary. Above the red stained glass and adorning the top of the previous entry to the church, the Rose Window was initially installed when the church building was constructed in 1939. It can be seen well from both the narthex and the inside of the sanctuary. While it contains no specific religious symbolism it is an excellent example of Gothic-style geometrics.
While still in the narthex, turn around and over the church entry doors is a beautifully illuminated stained glass window. This window was designed and installed as part of the addition of the new Narthex area in 2004. The window was dedicated both to Betty Hulings and in memory of Reverend Milo Horak. Rev. Horak was a great friend of Betty and his ministry was particularly meaningful to her. The window reflects Betty’s love of nature and Rev. Horak’s call to look beyond the hills to the One who made us (Psalm 121). The artist was Joan Cox who used hand-blown antique glass from Germany. The fabricating of the window involved various methods of “painting” and acid etching used since Medieval times and was done in cooperation with Keith Studios of Minneapolis.
The entire sanctuary of St. Croix United Church is in the shape of a cross. The lower large section of the cross is the main part of the sanctuary, the top section is the chancel or pulpit area, and the two arms are the South and North transepts.
Once in the sanctuary, as you look upon the walls, you will see 16 Sanctuary Shields throughout. Shields have long been associated with strength, protection and identity. The shields in our sanctuary were original to the church building constructed in 1939 and were brightened up in the late 1990’s. The shields were based on stories in some Christian traditions about the first martyred followers of Christ.
Also throughout the sanctuary are 12 stained glass windows, with designs ranging from the Life of Christ to World Brotherhood (inclusion and Diversity).
In the chancel you will find the Music in Worship window, the Isabel Barnhart Andersen Memorial window and the Pipe Organ. The Music in Worship window combines the ancient symbols of scroll, horn and lyre.
The Isabel Barnhart Andersen Memorial window is the focal point of the church. It depicts the living Christ, the teachings of Christ and how to love one another. The window is original to the building. It is traditional Gothic in its form and style. The center panel pictures Christ in the ancient benediction pose with the words: "Now unto the King Eternal, Immortal, invisible the only Wise God, be Honor and Glory forever and ever, Amen." The four medallions in the side panels represent New Testament themes: Jesus as Shepherd, Jesus as Lover of Children, the presentation of gifts, and the Kingdom of God where the lion will lie down with the lamb. The window was a gift to the church from Emma Barnhart, an aunt of the late Isabel Barnhart Andersen. It was designed and made in Minneapolis by Andreas Larsen.
The pipe organ was built and installed by the Hendrickson Organ Company of St. Peter, MN and dedicated on April 25, 1976. The organ consists of 764 wooden and metal pipes which are arranged in 11 different stops or voices, totaling 13 ranks. Six ranks are enclosed in an expressive swell box on the right side of the chancel and the remaining seven ranks of pipe are visible at the front and inside of the organ case on the left. The visible pipes at the front cases are the speaking pipes of the principal 8' and octave 4' ranks. The organ was designed and installed at the front of the church in a manner designed to project the sound of the pipes throughout the room and with physical arrangement which complements the memorial window, therefore, this organ is unlike any other in the world.
As you exit the building you are left with a blessing from lines of Psalm 121 to continue your day:
"The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and forever more"